subsidies nissan mississippi dc

Developers Fund Campaigns, Score Subsidies
developers campaign donation tax breaks

Nissan's Mississippi Subsidies Top $1.3 billion

Much of your public money gets misspent. When will enough be enough? Are your ready for change? Now? These 2013 excerpts are from (1) Clawback, May 20, on their report (commissioned by the UAW) by P. Mattera and (2) WAMU, May 20, on deals for developers by J. Patel and P. Madden.

by Phil Mattera and by Julie Patel & Patrick Madden

Over the past decade Nissan has created thousands of manufacturing jobs in Mississippi. While the Japanese automaker has spent considerable amounts of its own money, it has also received huge amounts of financial assistance from taxpayers at the local and state levels: e.g., corporate income tax credits, rebates of withholding taxes, site preparation and infrastructure grants, training grants, and property tax abatements. In all, the value of the state and local subsidies offered to the company in Mississippi is some $1.3 billion, considerably more than has been reported.

In the Advantage Jobs payments offered to Nissan, the employer gets a rebate of a portion of the state withholding taxes deducted from the paychecks of workers. The 25-year, $160 million Advantage Jobs deal granted to Nissan was the largest withholding tax subsidy ever awarded.

With Nissan eligible for an estimated at $1.3 billion in assistance over the term of the subsidy programs, Mississippi taxpayers may end up paying around $290,000 per job. Around 20 percent are temps. In 2012, temporary employees started work at $12 an hour.

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The D.C. city council has approved more than $1 billion in tax breaks and other subsidies to developers over the past decade. At the same time, these developers donated millions of dollars in campaign cash.

City officials award politically connected land developers tax breaks and discounted land deals, some for pennies on the dollar, a loss of more than $200 million in city assets.

Some developers devoted their highest annual donation total the year they received a subsidy.

Those government subsidies are "supposed" to revive neighborhoods. But in some cases, the benefits never materialized, or the subsidies simply weren’t needed.

Subsidies now look to some like government handouts.

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JJS: Did you note that the two big excuses for subsidies are jobs and growth (or “development”). And the politicians did not even do a very good job of reaching their stated (but sincere?) goals. There are better ways to create jobs and growth, if that’s what you want. But wouldn’t you rather have a decent income, a livable workweek, and not growth for growth’s sake but only the new development that a healthy society needs? If so, you sure you want politicians controlling your purse strings?

What, instead, if you did not allow them such discretionary power? They couldn’t tax or spend willy-nilly, but instead …
* Government could only recover the socially-generated values of nature and privilege; it could only tax things like income, sales, and buildings in times of emergency.
* Government could only disburse these recovered “rental” values of nature and privilege as dividends to citizens; it could only subsidize special groups when they're in dire straits like, what?, people totally incapacitated and overlooked by charity, or scientists and engineers trying to divert an asteroid from crashing into Earth.

If the hands of politicians were tied, then they could not grant favors to insiders. All those millions, billions, and trillions of socially-generated values would be shared fairly by everyone. You could pretty much lock the hood on the economy and find other news stories to read about.


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .

Also see:

Biggest US Utility Takes US Taxpayers For a Ride

When Taxpayers Pay People to Rebuild in Harm's Way

Tax Dollars Subsidize CEO Pay

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